Inditex is undertaking exhaustive actions to fight against the illegal practice of Sumangali in India.

Sumangali Scheme is a form of illegal labour practice that still persists in parts of Tamil Nadu, southern India. Young girls are sent by their families to work in factories, including cotton spinning mills, under the promise of the payment of a wages after three of five years that is used as marriage dowry by the families.

But they often endure poor working conditions, low pay and never see their wages at the end of it.

Rooting out the practice of Sumangali Scheme requires long-term action on multiple fronts

We undertake exhaustive traceability and transparency controls to check that our suppliers in India are not using exploitative practices, nor secretly outsourcing to, or using raw materials from, exploitative factories.

Our measures include cataloguing and monitoring all the spinning mills used by our suppliers and encouraging regular, verifiable salary payments into workers’ bank accounts.

But, crucially, we have also teamed up with a range of local, national and international organisations to champion initiatives, from grassroots outreach projects among villages to lobbying key decision-makers in government.

Ironically, Sumangali means 'happily married woman'

As founder members of the Tirupur Stakeholder Forum, we partnered the non-profit organisation SAVE in 2010 to fight exploitation and raise awareness in the community about the prevention and eradication of Sumangali in the textile industry.

Since then, our work has covered a population of more than 402,000 in 671 villages across Tamil Nadu, and we have seen more than 19,000 young people directly benefit from our projects, and more than 50,000 others indirectly benefit.

At Inditex we also closely work with Ethical Trading Initiative’s Tamil Nadu Multi Stakeholder Initiative (TNMS) and Nalam project to create awareness about labour rights and health in the factories among young women who are employed.

Our measures to fight against Sumangali, in numbers:
  • 671 villages involved in our outreach programme 
  • 19,000 direct beneficiaries and 50,000 indirect beneficiaries 
  • Almost 6,000 school boys and girls have received training about their rights